It's harder than it looks, right? Sewing that neckband in a top from knit fabrics. Either it turns out too large or too small... Well, here's how I do it!
If you're making a t-shirt, bodice or any other kind of top out of knit fabrics (fabrics that have stretch), and you want to finish the neckline with a band, you can start by sewing both shoulder seams.
After the shoulder seams have been sewn, measure the neckline. Use a tape measure and place it on the neckline upended. With this sweater I'm sewing the seam allowance is 1 cm (3/8"), therefore I'm measuring 1 cm from the edge, in other words the seamline.
First measure the front piece.
Then measure the back piece.
Here's the important part. The neckband's circumference will be shorter than the neckline's, right? If you think of the neckline as the black circle below, and the neckband as the green circle, it's easier to understand that the neckband will need to be shorter.
How much shorter? Well that depends on your fabric. On this sweater I'll be using a ribb fabric that has 60-70% stretch. For that amount of stretch, I recommend to make the band about 75% of the neckline.
As you can see I'm measuring the stretch percentage on folded fabric since I know that the stretch percentage sometimes is much less when the fabric is folded (and the neckband will be sewn with folded fabric).
ARE YOU UNSURE ABOUT HOW TO EVALUATE THE STRETCH PERCENTAGE IN YOUR FABRIC? READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.
If I were instead using jersey (cotton/lycra) or interlock for the neckband, with about 30-40% stretch, the neckband would need to be a little longer. In this case, about 85-90% of the neckline's circumference.
BRACE YOURSELF FOR SOME MATH ;)
So if my neckline is 40 cm, I'd take 40*0,75 = 30. There's the length of my neckband. I'll also add seam allowance, 1 cm at each side.
So 30 cm + 2 cm (seam allowance) = 32 cm. And for this childrens' sweater, approximately 4-5 cm wide is good for the neckband.
I'll cut a neckband that's 32 cm long and 5 cm wide. The finished width of the neckband will be 1,5 cm.
3. PREPARE THE NECKBAND
Prepare the neckband by folding it right sides together and letting the short sides meet. Sew the short side with 1 cm seam allowance. Now the circumference of the sewn neckband is 30 cm.
Fold the neckband over itself so that wrong sides meet. Press.
The neckband is ready to be sewn to the neckline.
With the sweater's wrong sides out, place the neckband inside the neckline. Now right sides are together, and the folded side of the neckband is inwards, letting raw edges meet. Match the neckband's side seam to the center back, or one of the shoulder seams.
Remember that the neckband is shorter than the neckline? Mine is only 75% of the neckline's cirumference. So now I need to stretch it. I'll make sure to stretch evenly.
Sew all the way around. Don't stretch the main fabric, only the neckband. Here I've used a serger (overlock). But if you're using a sewing machine instead, sew with a zig zag stitch or other stretch stitch.
Afterwards, press the seam allowance away from the neckband (downwards). If you've got an iron with steam, do use it :)
Eager to try this yourself?
How about with my FREE pattern, the Ester & Ebbe top? A shirt for boys and girls in sizes 74-146 (approx. 6-9 months to 11 years).
Or the Linnéa top for women? An easy sewing pattern suitable for beginners.
Or browse my collection for other kids' and women's patterns.